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I spent another two hours picking wild berries this morning and I also had two large bowls of raspberries picked from a friend’s yard the evening before. I decided to spend the day preserving the harvest.

First, I froze some of the raspberries, laying them out on a cookie sheet and putting them in the freezer. Then, I bagged the hard frozen berries in a ziplock freezer bag. Freezing them this way makes for easier handling, keeping the berries from getting squished and freezing together in one large lump. Then, I repeated the process with saskatoon berries, black currants and red currants, placing them in separate freezer bags.

Next, I made a triple batch of raspberry jam, using Jean Pare’s recipe from her Company’s Coming ‘Preserves‘ cookbook. Here is the recipe I used:

Raspberry Jam

4 cups raspberries, packed

3 cups sugar (or your preferred natural sweetener)

1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh or bottled

Place raspberries in a large pot. Cover with sugar and stir. Let stand on counter for about 1 to 2 hours until berries release their juice.

Add lemon juice. Heat on low, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble. Simmer slowly, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to a rolling boil. Boil hard for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until it thickens. Test a little on a chilled saucer to see if it is the thickness of jam. Pour into hot sterilized jars with within 1/4 inch of the top. Seal. Make 2 half pints and 1 small jar.

Then, I made a half batch of wild gooseberry jam. It took a little time prepping the berries as I first had to remove the stems and tails from each one. Here is Jean Pare’s recipe:

Gooseberry Jam

4 cups sugar (or natural sweetener of your choice)

1 cup water

2 lbs. (about 4 cups) gooseberries, tipped and stemmed

Combine sugar and water in a large pot. Heat and stir on medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil.  Boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Add gooseberries. Return to a boil. Boil for about 30 minutes until a small amount cools and sets on a chilled saucer. Skim off foam if needed. Pour into hot sterilized jars to within 1/4 inch of top. Seal. makes 4 half pints.

I had never tasted gooseberry jam before and was very pleased with the tart fruitiness of this jam. I only have 1 jar so this will sit on the pantry shelf like treasure until the darkest days of winter when we can taste some summer sunshine on our breakfast crepes.

While I am here and sharing preserving recipes, I will also share the recipe I use for apricot butter, also from Jean Pare’s cookbook. I just made this butter just a few weeks ago but will need to make more.

Apricot Butter

3 lbs. (5 cups)  pitted organic apricots

1-3/4 cup sugar (or natural sweetener of your choice)

1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh or bottled

1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring (optional)

Remove pits from apricots. Grind or mash the ripe apricots. Combine the pulp with the sugar, lemon juice and flavoring in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring often, for about 1 hour 15 minutes until thickened. A spoonful cooled on a chilled saucer should remain smooth with no watery sign. Fill hot sterilized jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Seal. Makes 2 half pints and 1 small jar.

Happy canning everyone! Can you believe that it’s August already???